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Walla Walla Frenchtown is established about 1824.
Around 1824, the Walla Walla Frenchtown is established near the mouth of the Walla Walla River. The community is associated with the Hudson's Bay Company post first built by the French Canadian Northwest Company in 1818 as Fort Nez Perces and later, after the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Northwest Co. merge, renamed Fort Walla Walla. Frenchtown is a general designation used throughout North America for locations characterized by the early settlement of people of French extraction. Frenchtowns are often associated with early fur-trading posts, especially those of the Hudson's Bay Company, but are typically located at some distance from the posts. This Frenchtown, like others, will outlive the fur-trading posts because its inhabitants will maintain their French Canadian character through common architectural forms, land division patterns, and the Roman Catholic religion.
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Robert Newell and Joseph Meek reach Fort Walla Walla with the first wagons driven overland to the Columbia River in September 1840.
In September 1840, Robert Newell, Joseph L. Meek, and their families reach Fort Walla Walla, the Hudson's Bay Company trading post on the Columbia River in present day Walla Walla County, with three wagons that they have driven laboriously from Fort Hall in Idaho. Newell and Meek, fur trappers from the Rocky Mountains, are on the way to settle with their families in Oregon's fertile Willamette Valley. Their wagons are the first to reach the Columbia River over land, and they open the final leg of what becomes known as the Oregon Trail to wagon traffic.
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Bishop Augustin Magloire Blanchet performs the first Catholic ordination in the future state of Washington at Fort Walla Walla on January 2, 1848.
On January 2, 1848, Bishop Augustin Magloire Blanchet (1797-1887) ordains Oblate Missionaries Eugene Casimir Chirouse (1821-1892) and Charles M. Pandosy (1824-1891) as Catholic priests in a hastily arranged ceremony at Fort Walla Walla. It is the first Catholic ordination in what will become the state of Washington. (Note: Bishop Augustin Magloire Blanchet should not be confused with his brother, Bishop Francois Norbert Blanchet [1795-1883].)
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Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens convenes the First Walla Walla Council with Native American tribes on May 29, 1855.
On May 29, 1855, Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens (1818-1862) convenes the First Walla Walla Council with Native American tribes of the Columbia River basin. Stevens' orders are to extinguish the tribes' title to lands in the territory in order to open it for settlement. Stevens offers the tribes reservations, cash, and especially, retaining their traditional hunting and fishing grounds.
File 5188: Full Text >
Oregon volunteers battle the Walla Wallas and other tribes beginning on December 7, 1855.
On December 7, 1855, a four-day battle begins between Oregon volunteers and the Walla Wallas and other tribes.
That year, many of the Native American tribes of the interior Pacific Northwest were restive. Some had been coerced into signing treaties that granted most of their ancestral lands to the United States, whose citizens were beginning to crowd into the area. The Yakamas, under the leadership of Kamiakin and others of his family, were in open defiance of the encroaching whites and battled with volunteer territorial militias. When their resistance was reduced, the territorial volunteers turned to other tribes that had been asserting themselves, including the Walla Wallas under their chief, Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox. Marching into their stronghold in the Walla Walla River valley, the First Oregon Mounted Volunteers defeated the Walla Wallas and their allies in a four day running battle. Before the fight, chief Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox had been taken hostage and, during the first day of the battle, he and other hostages were killed. The Walla Wallas never fully recovered from the campaign. The next year, federal troops took over the fighting and, following a series of battles during 1858, most Indian military resistance in the interior Pacific Northwest was broken.
File 8132: Full Text >
Lt. John Mullan and a 230-man crew begin building Mullan's Road (Mullan Road) from Walla Walla in spring 1859.
In the spring of 1859, Lt. John Mullan (1830-1909), under the auspices of the U.S. War Department, begins directing a crew of 230 soldiers and civilians in the work of making a military road. Mullan Road is planned as a 624-mile road from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Benton, Montana. The road crew labors for months, hacking through forests, laying corduroyed strips through marshes, and building hundreds of river crossings. The road reaches Fort Benton on August 1, 1860. (Present-day I-90 more or less traces the route of the old Mullan Road through the Rockies.) There are no funds for maintenance, and when Lt. Mullan makes his return trip, some of the Mullan Road has already deteriorated. Nevertheless, it provides Walla Walla with a supply route to several mining districts and causes the hamlet (with seven houses in 1860) to boom.
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Town of Walla Walla is named on November 17, 1859.
On November 17, 1859, Walla Walla County commissioners name the town that has grown up around the U.S. military Fort Walla Walla. They elect to name the town Walla Walla. The town begins with a rich history, which includes Native North Americans, fur traders, missionaries, soldiers, and pioneers. Walla Walla's earliest businesses are raising cattle and supplying the fort. The town will be incorporated and become the county seat in 1862. A gold rush followed by a growing agricultural industry will help Walla Walla become the largest city in Washington Territory by 1880. During the twentieth century, Walla Walla will continue to develop as an agricultural center for various crops, including wheat, onions, apples, peas, and wine grapes.
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Washington Territorial Legislature charters Whitman Seminary on December 20, 1859.
On December 20, 1859, the Washington Territorial Legislature approves the first charter for an institution of higher educational in the territory. The charter is for Whitman Seminary, a coeducational pre-collegiate academy, which is to be located at the mission site where Marcus and Narcissa Whitman worked from 1836 until 1847, when they were killed by a group of Cayuse Indians. The first classes are not held until 1866, and the school begins in the city of Walla Walla rather than at the nearby mission site. After many years of struggle, in 1882 Whitman College begins offering college curricula and the school attracts more support and students. During the twentieth century Whitman College will emerge as a distinguished liberal arts college.
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Washington Statesman begins publication in Walla Walla on November 29, 1861.
On November 29, 1861, the Washington Statesman
begins publication in Walla Walla. Brothers William Smith and R. B. Smith hire typesetter R. R. Rees to assist them in putting out the four-page, six-column paper. The Smiths are politically independent, but adhere to Unionist sympathies during the War Between the States. In 1864, they will change the name of the paper to the Walla Walla Statesman
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The Walla Walla Library Association is incorporated on January 20, 1865.
On January 20, 1865, the Walla Walla Library Association is incorporated by the Washington Territorial Legislature and becomes the first library established for the public in the City of Walla Walla. A group of Walla Walla professionals, interested in literary culture in the new and booming mining town of Walla Walla, had formed a literary society and then took steps to establish a circulating library for it. Subscriptions were collected, books were purchased, and an accessible location for the library was found. But interest in this early regional library endeavor will not prove to be sustainable. The vision of a public library -- and eventually a free public library -- for Walla Walla would be realized later by other, similarly-minded individuals.
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Baker Boyer Bank opens in Walla Walla on November 10, 1869.
On November 10, 1869, Baker Boyer Bank opens for business in Walla Walla. Founded by brothers-in-law Dr. Dorsey Syng Baker (1823-1888) and John F. Boyer (1824-1897) with profits from their years as merchants servicing gold miners, Baker Boyer Bank is the first banking institution in what will become the state of Washington.
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Walla Walla & Columbia River Railroad is completed from Wallula to Walla Walla on October 23, 1875.
On October 23, 1875, Dr. Dorsey Syng Baker (1823-1888) completes the Walla Walla & Columbia River Railroad from Wallula, on the Columbia River, to Walla Walla. Work on the railroad began in 1871, and it is completed four years later. Dr. Baker celebrates by offering a free round-trip ride on the new railroad. Hundreds come from around the valley to see the new train. Walla Walla residents board the train, ride to Wallula, and enjoy a picnic before returning by train to Walla Walla. The line will become part of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
File 7630: Full Text >
First Washington Constitutional Convention convenes in Walla Walla on June 11, 1878.
On June 11, 1878, Washington Territory legislators meet in Walla Walla to craft a state constitution. Walla Walla is the largest city in the territory in 1878 and the most logical place for politicians to meet. Legislators arrive in June and complete the constitution in 40 days. The constitution they draft will be ratified at the next general election in November, but later rejected by Congress.
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Whitman College opens in Walla Walla on September 4, 1882.
On September 4, 1882, classes begin at Whitman College on the campus of Whitman Seminary in Walla Walla, Washington Territory. Originally chartered in 1859 as a coeducational pre-collegiate academy to memorialize missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, Whitman Seminary had begun offering classes in Walla Walla in 1866 but struggled to remain open. By 1882, trustees decided that if the school were to survive it needed to expand into a college. Through local and national support, particularly through the Congregational American College and Education Society, Whitman College will establish itself as a traditional liberal arts college. After its first 25 years, Whitman will separate itself from the Congregational Church. In time, it will develop into a distinguished liberal arts college.
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First convicts occupy penitentiary at Walla Walla on May 11, 1887.
On May 11, 1887, 10 convicts arrive at Walla Walla to become the first prisoners at the new penitentiary. Members of Company A, Washington National Guard, transport them from the prison at Seatco in Thurston County.
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Stephen B. L. Penrose arrives in Walla Walla on October 2, 1894, as the third president of Whitman College.
On October 2, 1894, Stephen B. L. Penrose (1864-1947) arrives in Walla Walla, Washington, and begins a 40-year tenure as the third president of Whitman College. Penrose had first come to Washington state straight out of Yale Divinity School, under the auspices of the Congregational American Home Mission Society. After revitalizing a Congregational church in Dayton, Penrose was called to the presidency of Whitman College. As a trustee, Penrose was aware of the college's financial problems; but he decided to accept the challenge and he dedicated his life to building up the school. Although the college will be in a precarious position again when he retires in 1934, others will build successfully upon the firm foundation that he will lay.
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Walla Walla Woman's Reading Club is organized on October 19, 1894.
On October 19, 1894, a group of women in Walla Walla meet and organize the Walla Walla Woman's Reading Club. The club is committed to the "critical study of such writings as may be deemed best to promote the literary culture of its members," but literary and other interests will lead the club to became active in a number of civic improvement projects. Most significant among these will be the club's work to establish a free public library in Walla Walla, which will open in 1897, and help it obtain a suitable building, which will open in 1905.
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Walla Walla Public Library opens in November 1897.
In November 1897, the Walla Walla Public Library opens to the public. After a number of unsuccessful attempts to establish a circulating library for the public in Walla Walla, the city finally has books, funds, a facility, and a librarian to start a free public library. The library is greatly indebted to the advocacy of the Walla Walla Woman's Reading Club, a group that is only a few years old but that has been instrumental in making possible a free public library in Walla Walla. The club will continue to advocate for the library, helping it obtain its first building in 1905. With civic support, a building from Andrew Carnegie, and professional staff and services, the library will quickly grow and become an important community asset. In 1970, the library will move into a new facility, which will enable it to expand its collections and services.
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President Theodore Roosevelt visits Whitman College and Walla Walla on May 25, 1903.
On May 25, 1903, as part of a campaign to gain western support for his forthcoming bid for the presidency, President Theodore Roosevelt visits Walla Walla. While in Walla Walla, Roosevelt addresses a crowd of some 6,000 assembled before the Whitman Memorial Building on the campus of Whitman College.
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Walla Walla Public Library building is dedicated on December 13, 1905.
On December 13, 1905, dedication ceremonies are held for the newly erected Walla Walla Public Library at 109 Palouse Street. Former Washington Territorial Governor Miles C. Moore (1845-1919) joins civic leaders in welcoming readers and thanking construction underwriter Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919).
File 8254: Full Text >
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